The Washington Post recently named Colorado Springs the city most impacted by the government shutdown, which has squeezed cash from federal entities all over the country.
Colorado Springs, home to the Air Force Academy and a smattering of military bases, employs roughly 55,000 federal workers, which make up nearly 19 percent of the workforce, according to The Washington Post.
Therefore, it came to no surprise that the recent government shutdown on Oct. 1 proved economically harsh for the citizens of Colorado Springs.
Since the House and Senate have been continually at odds on how to fund federal agencies through appropriations bills, the decision, in turn, became no decision at all. The House recently passed a bill that delayed Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and the Senate responded by rejecting the measure.
The country sits at a standstill.
The indecision has led to putting about half of the area’s 13,500 federal civilian workers off the job without pay, according to The Gazette.
Colorado, which houses some of the nation’s most prized natural areas, had to shut down nationally owned lands such as Great Sand Dunes NP, Baca National Wildlife Refuge, and Rocky Mountain NP.
Those lucky enough to avoid the impact opened their doors to the furloughed workers. Local restaurateur Richard Skorman offered free meals to those put off by the government furloughs at his Poor Richard’s Restaurant, according to The Gazette.
There are national regulations set in place to protect national security by organizing government work into essential and non-essential positions. Necessities like Social Security checks and the TSA will stay in function, but non-necessities like museums, civil cases, and even garbage collection in some areas, will be put on hold.
What does this mean for CC and other local institutions?
Fortunately, nothing. CC is a private institution. But, in the sphere of public education, nearly 90 percent of the Department of Education will be furloughed. UCCS, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, feels relatively safe amidst the national drought, according to The Scribe.
If the shutdown is prolonged another week, cash flow to schools with federal grants could be “severely affected according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.”
The Air Force Academy, an institution almost exclusively funded through federal funds, may be forced to postpone or cancel its upcoming football game against Navy—a sold out game that was to be televised nationally.
The true outcome of this national squeeze will depend mainly on time. The last federal government shutdown, which occurred between 1995-96, lasted a total of 28 days.
This shutdown resulted in the closure of 368 National Park sites that lost some seven million visitors; 200,000 applications for passports and 20,000 to 30,000 applications for visas by foreigners went unprocessed each day; U.S. tourism and airline industries incurred millions of dollars in losses; and more than 20 percent of federal contracts, representing $3.7 billion in spending, were affected adversely, according to Journalist’s Resource.
If left unattended, the effects of the shutdown could be catastrophic to both Colorado Springs locally and the nation as a whole.